Live By the Hammer, Die By the Hammer. Over and over and over.
Another trip to the lake. I made the mistake of wolfing down a McDonald's cheesburger before I jumped on the turnpike and headed east, and so was only able to eat one huge fajita that was waiting for me when I got there. Heather made her Spanish rice and I would've been quite content to spend the night sitting in a dark corner with the serving bowl and a big wooden spoon.
But instead we played poker. Last time I went 0-4, not getting so much as a sniff of a win. This trip was no better, and in many ways worse. Let me explain why. We're playing and I'm dealt the Hammer. OK, I gotta play this, it a point of blogger pride. I raise big, and Debbie calls me. Of course she does. Flop comes J-9-8, and I go all in. Hey, you can't call with 7-2, you gotta bet, right? Debbie thinks about it, and calls. She has me covered. She turns over K-8. Called me with bottom pair. I don't hit my ten and I'm the first one out.
OK, shit happens. We play again. Again I hold the Hammer, and I almost throw it away. But instead I raise, of course. Frank calls. A raggedly flop and Frank checks. I make a big bet and he calls. After the turn I'm hosed. Frank bets. I either go all-in or I muck. I muck and start double-fisting Yuenglings.
Two hands later I play K-4 out of the big blind. The flop comes 7-2-4. "Where was that flop two hands ago?" I growl as I check in hopes of a free card. I get my free card and it's another 7. I'm up against Frank again, and when he checks I make a small bet, thinking my 4 might be good. He calls, and my Spidey sense tells me to bend over and grab my ankles. A brick on the river and Frank tosses in a bet that I have to call even though I know I'm beat. I just don't know how beat--he flips over the Hammer.
So that's three Hammer hands I've been involved in, one got me knocked out, one cost me 1/3 of my stack, and the last cost me my dignity. And the cherry on my shit sundae is that I'm pretty sure I lost another big pot with the Hammer, but so far I've managed to supress that memory. Probably wake up screaming in the middle of the night sometime this week and say, "Oh yeah...".
I managed to chop the pot in the last game we played, I gave out too many chips and even though the blinds quickly escalated from $5-10 to $75-150 we were no closer to deciding a winner after 90 minutes than when we started. Rick had the chip lead, I brought up the rear, and Scott was right about in between. But I had enough chips I could still play without going all-in, including a DEVASTATING bluff I made against Scott when he held second-pair and folded to my all-in. But with 2AM approaching and a 3AM night in our rear window none of us wanted to play till dawn. So we all got our buy-in back and played one hand up for the remaining $10. I was dealt A-5, Scott got 10-2. And of course Texas Dolly made his presence known and Scott flopped a deuce to take the game. I cried myself to sleep again and resolved to either take up birdwatching or crocheting. I haven't decided which yet.
Other than those crushing defeats we had a great time. For the third weekend running we had perfect boating weather, hot and sunny and the water absolutely delicious. Saturday morning I woke up feeling a bit rough so I took my usual hangover cure--blast around the lake on the JetSki cutting back and forth across the wake getting soaked to the gills. Better than Advil.
To give you an idea of how idyllic it was up there, consider this scene--we've been out on the boat all day, we're sunburned and exhausted and all the guys are crashed on the floor watching the PGA Tournament. We're all drinking cold, cold beer. And in the kitchen the womenfolk are prepping dinner--slicing potatoes, seasoning steaks, choosing the wines. And--here's the good part--all of the women are wearing bikinis. Yeah, I guess I can fade getting my head handed to me at the poker table. As soon as I get another glass of that cabernet sauvignon...